Congress silent on Karnataka Lokayutka report on illegal mining

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BANGALORE: It has been nearly three months since Congress swapped the Treasury Benches with BJP in March 2013, yet it is still not making its stand clear on the Justice Santosh Hegde’s report on illegal mining.

While being in opposition, Congress had raised a lot of hue and cry over illegal mining but its silence on it after coming to power have raised serious doubts on the commitment.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah, who led the 320-km walkathon from Bangalore to Bellary to seek CBI probe into illegal mining apparently, has yet to decide on tabling the two series Lokayukta report in the ongoing state legislative assembly.

“The government showed great urgency in implementing ‘Re 1 kg rice scheme’ as promised in its election manifesto but it seems to be in no hurry to fulfill its another bigger promise to implement the Lok ayukta report,” said S R Hiremath, who is leading the campaign against illegal mining in the state.

In its 25,000 pages report, Justice Santosh Hegde has put the total loss to the exchequer for the period between 2006 and 2010 at Rs 16,085 crore and accused several leading politicians including opposition leader H D Kumarswamy, former chief ministers B S Yeddyurappa, Dharam Singh, former ministers B Sriramalu, among others.

The report has also named over 600 officials of the government, accusing them of conniving in illegal mining scam.

When the opposition raised the issue of not taking any action against officials involved in mining scam recently in the House and demanded setting up a fast track court, the CM heedlessly said: “We will consider all your suggestions.”

Justice Santosh Hegde said he feels the Congress will go the BJP way. “I don’t think the Congress government will take any steps either to recover the losses or take action against politicians and officials simply because the report has also the names of their party leaders. Why will Siddaramaiah antagonize his own party men when everything he is going smooth for him?” he asked.

If the government is serious, Justice Hegde said the government would have tabled his reports by now and directed the Lokayukta to take measures to recover the losses. It should also positively consider the opposition’s demands to set up a special court and tried the officials, who have escaped from the action.

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